MANILA, Philippines — After the bombing of six schools in Maguindanao, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is likely to order the transfer of the polling precincts to other areas near the affected facility.
Comelec Commissioner Sheriff Abas noted since the schools have been damaged, there is a possibility that the commission en banc will issue an exemption to transfer the concerned polling precincts.
“The commission en banc will deliberate on the matter and immediately resolve where we can transfer the polling precincts,” he said.
Among the possible areas that they are looking to as alternative polling centers are private schools that are adjacent to the affected establishments.
“If you cannot use the precincts, or if it was burnt or bombed, we really have to transfer that. The en banc will order the transfer,” Abas added.
Aside from transferring the polling precincts, the poll body official said there was also a possibility that the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) would be replaced by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“We have a process for that. If the teachers will refuse to serve as BEIs, most likely they will be substituted by PNP personnel,” he added.
On Wednesday, six schools in Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao were attacked by unknown assailants.
The schools are: Tapayan Central School, Dagurungan Elementary School, Tuka Elementary School, Darping Elementary School, Tareken Primary, and Simuay Seashore Elementary School.
With this, Abas said the Comelec – Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Personnel is evaluating whether the province should be placed under Comelec Control (Category 4).
“As far as I know, several municipalities in Maguindanao are already under Category 3, which is a combination of having intense political rivalry (Category 1) and presence of armed groups (Category 2),” he added. Ferdinand Patinio/PNA/northboundasia.com